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Jean's April 2020 Newsletter

Posted On: March 29th, 2020 4:21PM

    APRIL 2020 - a new world! Read about
    • COVID19,
    • Real Estate Market/ Mortgage Lending,
    • Personal Air Purifiers,
    • Our recipe of the month,
    • Kudos to two small businesses and
    • Happy Birthday wishes to our 106 year old friend, a WWII  American war hero.
    April 1 – April Fools ‘Day - hopefully not an "event" but watch out anyway!

    April 8 – Jewish Passover begins – ending April 16

    April 10 – Good Friday

    April 12 – Easter Sunday

    APRIL 15 – the IRS is ready for YOU.  Filing for 2019 has been extend to July 15, 2020 due to COVID19.

    We’re all feeling a little "funky" with everything that is going on.  As Americans, we’re accustomed to coming and going at-will.  Our brains can’t quite grasp this loss of control we suddenly have about being separated from everyone; or being able to jump in the car to go to a restaurant or movie.  I was thinking this morning as I unloaded the dishwasher with clean dishes (we have electricity and hot water), we had dishes to wash because we have gas to cook our meals and food in the refrigerator.  We have heating and cooling in our home, if we need either.  We can communicate with friends and family because we have our computers and phones. 

    People are pulling together - farmers are farming, cows are milking, volunteers are making masks for our medical personnel, truckers are hard at work delivering food to our stores, volunteers are gathering food for those without, breweries and distilleries are using their facilities to make hand-sanitizing lotion, restaurants are finding a way to do take-out, churches are doing on-line services. The goodness in people is overwhelming in a time of need.

    Not long ago we were talking about devastating hurricanes that hit recently where people have lost everything - homes, power…nothing left.  So, we're OK with staying at home to hopefully stop the spread of this horrific virus.  We're grateful to have a roof over our heads - not everyone does. This kind of situation gives us an opportunity to be grateful for what we do have.

    And plenty of time to do the tasks we don’t like to do without an excuse.  Oh well, every silver lining has another side to it!  Hang in there!

    Our message today is to be patient, kind, cautious, safe - and help each other through these unusual times. We're all in this together.

    Al and Jean



    If you’d like to be inspired by young college students, go to the bottom of this newsletter where there is a link. This touching virtual version of "What the World Needs Now" was put together by Shelbee Rassler, a student pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Composition degree at the Boston Conservatory of Music at Berklee. It is a beautiful tribute to humanity during this COVID19 situation.  It was sent to us by a friend – who forgot to mention a tissue would be needed.  Thank you, Sharon.  We all need to see this.



    How will COVID19 affect Real Estate and Loans?


    First of all,  let us say that Governor Ducey has deemed real estate as an "essential business" for our economy so we're available with limitations per CDC rules.  So far, statistics don't show a slowdown because of business in the "pipeline" but realistically, there will be some effect over the next month or two on sales statistics. We can’t honestly predict market turns because nothing like this has ever happened in the USA…but we’ve been through other major tragic events (i.e. The Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2008) …and survived. It took time - but the economy came back. People will always need to buy and sell.  The past few weeks have been slower due to the "social distancing" but once this clears up, we hope and anticipate the market will pick up quickly because of pent up need. 

    The NAR (National Association of Realtors) tells us we can, and should, do business but to avoid holding Open Houses during this crisis; not only for the 6’ of social distancing but we shouldn’t have people walking through our listings, touching surfaces, handles etc.  Showing property for the short-term will be via virtual tours until a desirable property is selected by the Buyer. We can show property, but it is recommended that we drive in separate cars. First, of course, we will be sure the clients don't have a fever or coughing. We added to that list that if we’re showing a home, all of us going into the homes will be wearing plastic gloves and practicing social distancing. Of course, plenty of sanitizers will be implemented.

    The Cromford Report tells us that new home construction could slow down for a while due to potential shortages in labor and materials. Rentals: Some tenants will have been out-of-work due to COVID19 which will cause hardships on landlords and tenants alike for a period of time. Housing markets are based on supply and demand - and the demand here has been major. Phoenix is one of the top areas for migration from other states for multiple reasons [the weather, job market, low taxes and reasonable housing prices as compared to other states].  Central Arizona's housing market should remain very healthy so there is no cause for panic; if you need to purchase, it's fine to look now.     The Cromford Report provides daily market insight into the Phoenix metropolitan area residential re-sale real estate market. [NOTE: anything mentioned about the market,COVID19 etc. can change in a heartbeat]

    Escrows may, or may not, need to be a little longer if other affiliated businesses are back-logged but it's too soon to predict that.


    We keep in touch with our trusted mortgage lenders who send us updates regularly.  This one explains the current market succinctly. What he is saying is that if you hear that interest rates are cut, there is more to it.  You’re not going to get a 0% interest rate – that would play havoc on the banking system and economy.  Please read this from Brad Slager of Homeowners Financial Group: 480-254-3300.


    "The Federal Reserve has taken emergency action to cut rates to zero. While 0% interest rates sound great to anyone who owns a home or is planning to buy, it’s important to slow down and talk through a couple of things

    • First, the Fed does not control mortgage rates. Their cuts apply to rates for loans between the Fed and banks or from one bank to another. 
    • Second, the Fed’s actions most quickly impact the rates on U.S. Treasury Securities. These markets can influence Mortgage Backed Securities, which will then influence mortgage rates. 

    However, in times of uncertainty, other factors can overrule the norm. This happened in 2008. Despite aggressive cuts by the Fed, mortgage rates hit a floor and never fell further. The same is happening now.

    The Bottom Line - A 0% Fed funds rate will not lead to a 0% mortgage loan rate. Mortgage bonds will always have a level under which investors simply will not purchase them, and mortgage rates reflect that.

    The Good News - Mortgage rates are at or near their lowest levels ever. That spells opportunity to save significantly by refinancing or locking in a great rate on a purchase


    And reporting from the FHA side....


    FHA updates from Danny Lopezlira of Fairway Independent Mortgage ( or 602-617-2463).  Danny just sent us this update from a resource that lenders often use for updates.  This puts a very new spin on lending regarding FICO scores, LTD (loan to debt values) and required down payments coming up. Everything is our world is changing daily so - hold onto your hats.


    Air-Tamer A302 - Personal Air Purifier


    NOTE: This device will NOT protect you from the COVID19 virus because, according to current CDC as of today, it is not known to be an airborne disease (direct contact or surfaces) but it can be effective from people in the grocery, crowded places, airplanes, trains etc. where you’re exposed to colds or influenza.

    For many years, we’ve traveled with air-purifier necklaces which are very effective. With the COVID19 situation, we decided it was time to replace them for more current technology; we noticed in our Magellan’s catalog (travel items), a much smaller and improved item called the AirTamer A-302 Personal Ionic Air Purifier (it uses 2 CR2025 coin batteries for about 180 hours/7 days of continuous use). We purchased two new units last week for $79.00 each 

    Once everyone is allowed to travel again, you’ll want to take this device with you. And the good thing is that it is now very small (1" x 3" and weighs practically nothing). That's a Quarter next to it so you can see how small is really is. "Certified to remove dangerous pollutants from the air you breathe, the AirTamer A302 effectively protects you from airborne pollutants such as bacteria and viruses; The A302 is the perfect accessory to protect yourself during flu season"  


    Our new world with COVID19


    Who could have imagined going from the booming economy with the lowest jobless rate in years to...THIS? But we did. We’ve even got new vocabulary words like "social distancing." It’s very disconcerting but despite the bad behavior of a few, the goodness in people comes out too – neighbors, family and friends are touching base and/or sharing. Younger generations are helping their parents or grandparents to keep them out of the stores. We’re supposed to stay "a glass pane away" from our young family members. Caring for each other and remembering how much we treasure each other is the end game.

    Going through this is difficult, no matter where you live, but here in Arizona you can get out in the sunshine to take a walk, wave at your neighbors while exercising "social distancing."

    According to the CDC, "during the 2018–2019 season, estimates of hospitalizations and mortality associated with the 2018–2019 influenza season continue to demonstrate how serious influenza virus infection can be. We estimate, overall, there were 490,600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 season."   We were certainly not aware of those numbers until  the news frenzy with the COVID19 began.  How will they compare in the end to last year’s influenza season? Nobody knows yet.

    Pandemics have been tracked since 167 AD…the worst being the Bubonic Plague (1347-1351) where 200 million people died. Since 1900, the Spanish Flu of 1918-19 (40-50 million), the Asian Flu of 1957-58 (1.1 million), the Hong Kong Flu of 1968-70 (1 million) but the worst in our lifetime was the loss from HIV/AIDS starting back in 1981 (25-35 million).  Today, treatments and cures are so far advanced from years gone by and while there have been other outbreaks (SARS, SWINE, MERS and EBOLA), those numbers were significantly less.

    If you’re curious about world history and events of this sort, you might find this interesting.

    The good news is that most people recuperate and survive COVID19.  The biggest concern is the spread.  Of course, those most vulnerable are our Seniors; especially those with underlying health issues. Statistic and information seem to change hourly.

    For current and accurate information, go to this link by the CDC (Center for Disease Control): 

    The food/supplies situation has been a challenge. As our Moms used to say,  "Waste not; want not," or "Clean your plate because there are starving children in China" [I still don’t grasp  how my having to choke down lima beans would solve hunger anywhere], "This too shall pass," and it will…maybe not overnight but we’re a strong country. 

    Quick tips:

    • If you don’t have hand-wipes to take with you, take either a damp cloth or one sheet of a Lysol cleaning wipe in a zip-lock bag to wipe down surfaces if you have to leave the house.
    • If you need to do a grocery run, wear plastic gloves.
    • One of the worst germ-catchers are kitchen sponges and brushes. We toss those into the dishwasher or laundry every time we run a load. Or, replace them regularly.

    Our philosophy in trying to find something positive in this tragic situation is…

    • Nearly bare grocery shelves – this is Mother Nature’s way of clearing the shelves of older product so everything will now be new and fresh.
    • God help the husband who has put off the wife’s HONEY-DO list because now he’s got plenty of time to do them all
    • And about those drawers, cabinets and closets – it’s great to delve into that project out of shear boredom.  Our pantry is now a work of art, as is our closet!  The hall closet and file drawers are calling…but we’ve ignored the wailing, so far.



    Presented by music students from the Boston Conservatory of Music:


    Happy 106th Birthday to Captain Richard S. Roberts (USN Ret) Born April 17, 1914


    I met Robbie in 1984 on a trip to Egypt/Israel/Jordon/Greece – he’s been a precious friend to both of us for all of these years.  Robbie is a highly decorated combat aviator who flew in WWII and beyond. He’s been awarded the Bronze Star (plus over 20 commendations) and is the eldest member of the Navy League of the United States.

    Last year, Robbie was honored by the US Navy by naming a jet after him in recognition of his service (from 1938-1963) to his country.  He’s one of the few remaining WWII/Pacific Theater and Korean War Veterans still with us.  Forgive us for going on and on but he’s such an amazement to us.  He’s so humble and proud to have served,


    Here’s a brief YouTube from 2018 at one of many honorary events that have been bestowed upon Robbie.  He’s something!  Always charming and bright on the phone.

    Our love and best wishes to you, Robbie, for a Happy Birthday.  We wish we could hop on a plane to Florida to honor you in person…obviously that can’t happen.  We’ll have to catch you next year.



    The Batson Team HomeSmart
    Jean Batson
    Home Smart

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    Kudos to Two Small

    A couple of weeks ago, just before everything was shut down due to the COVID19 situation, we had a client whose home we’d sold; they were returning to Canada after 23 years here as "seasonal visitors." The only way to sell everything from the furniture to the kitchen spices was an estate sale.  Enter, Mary Beth Ellenberger of SOS Estate & Renovation Sales who came in with her crew, went through every item in the house, setting it up like a store, which took a lot of time and skill.  She ran the sale for three days – almost everything was sold but the few things remaining were picked up by a charity the next day.   They did a fantastic job; the sellers didn’t have to lift a finger after they removed the personal items going home with them.  At the end, they got a nice check. And talk about timing – the day after it was done, estates sales were temporarily banned due to the COVID virus.  Thanks Mary Beth! 

    And - All-Pro Carpet Cleaning

    And…after hundreds of people go through a home for an estate sale on a slightly rainy weekend, the light carpet was a wreck…enter All-Pro Carpet Cleaning, our go-to service for the past several years.  They’re beyond amazing.  Al sent Thomas Uhlenberg, the owner, a photo of the carpet so he knew the challenge ahead – and they delivered.  The light beige carpet was as good as new when they were done.  So, if you need to have your carpets (or tile, oriental rugs) cleaned, we highly recommend this service. 





    Jean's Cooking Corner

    In times like this when you may not always be able to get the meat you had on your list…or you need meals that will stretch …. yet still be EASY (my mantra), I like to think of ground beef as my good friend. It's so flexible - this is just the tip of the iceburg for ideas:

    • Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers – let your imagination soar (stuff it/top it?) – have fun with it.
    • Meatballs (so many versions of that and ways to add an interesting sauce.(See below for a quickie idea)*
    • Spaghetti and Meatballs – does that sound better?
    • Bolognese sauce
    • Sloppy Joe's – our generation grew up with them…just like a burger, all you need is a bun. That’s what we’re sharing this month. Very tasty.
    • Meat loaf – yum
    • Tacos
    • Ground beef Enchiladas
    • Lasagna
    • Pasta dishes of all sorts
    • Stroganoff
    • Shepherd’s Pie
    • Chili
    • You get the idea……do something different – be creative
    Mom MacLeod's Sloppy Joes:
      1 lb.ground beef
      1/2 chopped onion
      1 can Campbell's Chicken Gumbo soup
      2-3 TBS. Ketchup
      2 tsp. Mustard
      Garlic salt to taste
      Salt & Pepper to taste

    Brown the beef and onions, separating meat.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve on a bun
    1 recipe serves 3-4.


    *Meatball Sauce Varieties (for an Appetizer or Entree  


    These two are almost the same – both start out with a jar of Chili Sauce.

    First:  To the Chili sauce, add a medium jar of grape jelly.  Mix together, heat and pour over your warm meatballs. Serve


    Second:  To the Chili sauce, add a can of Whole Cranberry Sauce (don’t use the "jellied" version).  Mix together, heat and pour over your warm meatballs. Serve

    Either one is suitable for an entrée served with vegetables and…whatever you want…or whenever you need an appetizer for a group…yes, that day will come again!   Great served in a chafing dish or crock pot.

    The family that cooks together, laughs together - now is the time to eat together as a unit.  Nobody is going anywhere now so - make the best of it.
    ONE QUESTION: In this time of 
    staying at home with completely
    different routines...

  This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.  
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